Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-25 05:19 PM
Chen, the chairman of the semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, is scheduled to arrive in Taipei Wednesday for the twice-a-year round of negotiations with Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation. At the 10th round Thursday, the two sides are expected to sign agreements on meteorological and seismic monitoring cooperation.
The same day, he will also hold his first meeting with Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi, who recently visited China for groundbreaking meetings with Chen’s supervising official, Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun. Chen is due to return to China on Friday.
The first members of the ARATS delegation arrived on Tuesday, with police saying they were fully in control of the circumstances. Taiwanese action groups are expected to protest against the Chinese group’s presence as it accuses ARATS of coming to raise pressure on the Legislative Yuan to pass the cross-straits service trade pact signed last summer.
After strong initial reluctance, the government of President Ma Ying-jeou agreed last year to let lawmakers review the accord clause by clause and to vote on each section. With strong public feelings against the deal, the Legislative Yuan has still not begun its relevant work. Ma has threatened that if the new current session did not pass the pact, it would slow down Taiwan’s attempts to join regional trade groups such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Critics have accused the government of sacrificing the interests of Taiwan’s small and medium enterprises and their workers.
The 10th round of talks is scheduled to start at Taipei’s Grand Hotel at 9 a.m. Thursday, with the signing of the weather and earthquake agreements during the afternoon and a formal dinner at the same hotel in the evening.
Residents of the area and hikers would be allowed to pass police checkpoints, reports said.
On the occasion of past protests against ARATS negotiators both around the Grand Hotel and closer to the center of the city, police faced accusations of overreaction and brutality. Activists carrying Taiwanese national flags were stopped by police and removed from the scene, causing scuffles and new protests against the government.
Rejection of talks with China culminated in 2010, when the two sides signed an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement seen as the predecessor of last year’s service trade pact. An agreement about the trade in goods is also one of the priorities for the Ma Administration over the coming year.